During Brain Awareness Week—a global campaign to raise awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research—from March 12-18, Oticon, Inc, joins with healthcare organizations around the world to increase public awareness of the benefits of brain research and progress in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders of the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, Oticon announced. In the hearing healthcare arena, Oticon has pioneered BrainHearing™ research for more than two decades to help understand and aid the critical role that the brain plays in hearing.

That long-standing “brain-first” approach to hearing health achieved a significant milestone with the sale of what Oticon reports is the one millionth Oticon Opn™ hearing aid. Like all Oticon hearing aids, Opn is powered by the company’s proprietary BrainHearing™ technology that is designed to lessen the mental effort required to understand speech in noise and helps to preserve the mental resources needed to engage in brain-stimulating activities.

“BrainHearing technology empowers hearing aid users to feel more at ease in challenging and noisy situations and enables them to benefit from the important exercise the brain gets from regular, healthy social interaction,” said Don Schum, PhD, vice president of audiology for Oticon, Inc.  “Tests have repeatedly shown that Oticon Opn wearers experience less listening effort when trying to understand speech. And because wearers use fewer brain resources for understanding, they can get more out of conversations.”

An increasing body of evidence links people with hearing loss with a higher risk of cognitive decline and, consequently, conditions such as dementia. Most recently, a study on dementia prevention, intervention, and care in The Lancet concluded that, from midlife, hearing loss is the biggest risk factor in later development of dementia 1.  Oticon believes that the long-term public health benefit for brain health could be substantial with broader and more effective treatment for hearing loss.

A Million Votes of Confidence for BrainHearing Technology

With one million Oticon Opn purchased, the feedback from hearing care professionals and consumers to the expanded Oticon Opn family, including rechargeable Opn and the new ConnectClip, has been overwhelmingly positive, Oticon reports.  A 2017 survey of 700 new Oticon Opn users (average age 61-70 years) reported that they hear “better or much better” (96%); “understand more with less effort” (81%); and “keep up with the conversation” (62%).  A significant number of respondents (70%) were “very satisfied” with their Opn hearing solutions, a rating that is said to reflect the critical link between sound quality and user satisfaction.

Throughout Brain Awareness Week, Oticon is conducting targeted traditional and social media outreach to professionals and consumers to raise awareness of the critical link between hearing health and brain health.

“We’re all living longer which naturally means that age-related ailments are likely to become more prevalent,” explains Schum. “Brain Awareness Week provides us with the perfect opportunity to discuss the significant effect that better hearing can have on long-term brain health and hopefully encourage anyone living with untreated hearing loss to seek advice from a hearing care professional to help them not only hear better but to enjoy a better quality of life.”

For more information on Oticon hearing solutions with BrainHearing technology, visit https://www.oticon.com/solutions/brainhearing-technology.

1. Livingston G, Sommerlad A, Orgeta V, et al. Dementia presentation, intervention, and care. The Lancet. 2017;390(10113):2673-2734.

Source: Oticon, The Lancet

Image: Oticon